I get lots of questions about Apps for Autism.
It seems that almost all kids are drawn to smart technology. (And it’s not just the kids.) The iPad frenzy has become quite universal. Why is that?
There’s a reason
In his book Brain Rules, John Medina says, according to research, vision is our best tool for learning compared to our other senses. He is not referring to students who have special learning needs. He’s referring to all of us across the population. We are wired in a way that vision is a dominant strength.
He also shares that pictures grab our attention better than words.
He says, “We pay lots of attention to color.
We pay lots of attention to orientation.
We pay lots of attention to size.
And we pay special attention if the object is in motion.”
Hmmmmmm. . .doesn’t that help explain our cultural obsession with TV, computers, video games, iPads, phones, apps and all that technology stuff?
Pictures. Color. Size. Movement.
Maybe that’s why both kids and adults can stay engaged with tech toys for a long, long time.
John Medina talks about the whole population. But I think this begins to explain why using smart phones, iPads and apps for individuals on the autism spectrum produces such positive results.
I suspect that many of those with autism or related learners like ADHD are drawn to technology even more that everyone else. Perhaps hyper-focus is a good description. Obsession is another possibility. These words have been used to describe some of them. The goal is to avoid the challenges and take advantage of the benefits of the visual learning strengths of these students by using visual strategies.
Apps are ‘high tech” visual tools. Almost any low tech visual strategy can be reproduced in a high tech version. High tech tools add another option to our visual strategies “tool box.”
Just remember. . .
One big challenge is remembering to prepare kids for what will be happening and making sure to get a picture or something visual to share before an event. Thinking ahead can help avoid fear, anxiety or a major meltdown, depending on how well a child adjusts to new things. You can do that with technology.
P.S. Speaking of apps and technology, here’s a Kindle book that you’ll be interested in. The apps listed are from a survey of SLPs, teachers and parents of children with autism. You’ll see that there are a lot of apps that are NOT games. Apps can be used for many life functions and activities. What’s best for your child or your students? Check out the possibilities.